Cape Town events bring R3bn for local economy over 8 months

Cape Town – Over the past eight months events tourism in Cape Town has contributed an estimated R3bn to the local economy and enabled the creation of more than 20 000 temporary jobs.

Cape Town has been recognised four years in a row as the leading events destination in Africa, according to Leonora DeSouza-Zilwa, manager of events at the City of Cape Town.

The Mother City secures key international and national events, she said at World Travel Market (WTM) Africa on Thursday.
“Events tourism is a crucial economic driver in Cape Town and we are aware that success is based on partnerships,” she said. “Cape Town is open for business, especially for events business.”

In 2012 the City of Cape Town started its dedicated events strategy. At the time the City was only supporting eleven events financially compared to almost 200 today. Most of the City’s financial support for events is for cultural events and only about 12% for conferences.

“People laughed at us at the time. Today we have a dynamic events calendar boasting a number of high-profile international events,” she said.

These include the Volvo Ocean Race; the HSBC World Sevens rugby series; the FIA World Rallycross Championship; the Design Indaba; the ABSA Cape Epic; the Cape Town Cycle Tour; the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon; the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon; World Travel Market (WTM) Africa; the Mining Indaba; and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

“Events form a platform for us to build inclusivity, create jobs and develop skills. It is also about supporting community events,” said DeSouza-Zilwa.

“We live in a global village and must continuously strive to build new events into our events strategy. This should happen come rain or come no rain.”

She said the City wants to work with event organisers to boost the events industry even more, especially during the Cape winter months of June to August.

“We aim to create stability in the events industry and made it easier to host events in Cape Town by creating a one-stop shop. We adopted an outside-in approach by looking at the needs of the industry and then align to meet these needs,” she said.

She admitted that the industry faces challenges, like the water crisis, but emphasised that the events industry was one of the first in Cape Town to put water saving mechanisms in place.

In response to a question from the audience, DeSouza-Zilwa said the goal is also to establish and encourage the use of local small businesses in the events industry. She invited local SMEs to contact her in this regard.

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